I’ve talked a lot about anniversary beers produced by local breweries for their partner bars and restaurants. Those beers are always special, but two neighboring businesses—URBN Coal Fired Pizza (3085 University Avenue, North Park) and Hess Brewing (scheduled to open its second, larger brewing facility on nearby Grimm Avenue in the near future)—have teamed together to take their anniversary brew to the next level.
Last October, the brew crew at Hess designed an imperialized American-style (read: extra hoppy) pale ale called Validus to celebrate URBN’s second year in business. Instead of rendering it a one-time-only thing, they also pumped some of that bitter, high-alcohol brew into a barrel the combo bar and restaurant had purchased from Kentucky’s Buffalo Trace Distillery. Before being converted into a beer-aging vessel, that oaken receptacle housed Buffalo Trace’s 90 proof Elmer T. Lee rye recipe Bourbon whiskey.
Hess owner Mike Hess says Validus' rich flavors are derived from a Munich malt base and citrus notes brought on by hops associated with "West Coast" brewing styles (Cascade, Centennial, Columbus, etc.), and that putting the beer in the barrels layers on added complexity from the spirit, including notes of vanilla, sweet oak, and straight-up Bourbon.
On April 4, beginning at 6 p.m., URBN will be offering the barrel-aged version of Validus for seven bucks per pour. The non-barrel-aged base beer will also be available for a dollar less. Tasting the base beer and its mature cousin is special all on its own, but wait, there’s more. For eight dollars, guests will be able to enjoy a three-glass flight including six-ounce servings of both iterations of Validus as well as a one-ounce pour of the Elmer T. Lee. Flights will include miniature snifters embossed with Hess’ logo and URBN’s converted (b)urbn logo while supplies last.